Pune man dies due to unavailability of ambulance, authorities blame each other

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Mehab Qureshi

Pune, May 16, 2020: In the aftermath of the Coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown, not only did the ambulance not arrive, but one person lost his life. This is a question mark over the city’s health system. Now police and health department officials are blaming each other for the delay in sending the patient to a hospital.

The incident took place at Nana Peth in Pune around 4 am on Friday. The deceased was identified as Yashudas Moti Francis (54). Pune has the second-highest number of corona patients in Maharashtra after Mumbai. Hotspots in the city have been sealed as Pune is one of the red zone cities in the state. Roads have also been sealed in Nana Peth in the central area of Pune.

As per information gathered from residents, police and PMC health department, Francis complained of uneasiness around 1 am. His family and residents wanted to take him to the hospital. They called 108 helpline number for an ambulance. But they were reportedly told that ambulance cannot be sent immediately due to Coronavirus outbreak and patient need to be checked.

Francis remained on the road for over two hours in a state of emergency. The family then brought a neighbour’s chair and made him sit on it. The ambulance did not arrive even after three and a half hours and meanwhile, Francis died on the same chair.  He was taken to the Sassoon Hospital by a vegetable transporting tempo at 5 am. However, doctors declared him dead on arrival.

108 emergency medical service received two calls
Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) of BVG 108, Dr Dnyaneshwar Shelke, was quoted by Sakal newspaper, that the ambulance of 108 reached the spot within 15 to 20 minutes after the police called. The ambulance was in the area for about 20 minutes. The ambulance driver repeatedly tried to contact the police on the phone number from which the 108 was called for getting patient’s location.

But the police mobile phone was not connected. Roads were closed with barricades all over the area. So the ambulance could not proceed. So the ambulance driver returned after waiting for 20 minutes. The residents had also called 108 over the phone, but they had said that the patient has died and the body has to be taken away, Shelke said.


Meanwhile, police officials said that in the absence of an ambulance, they asked a tempo driver who refused as the patient could not get into the autorickshaw. They had waited for the ambulance on the road which did not reach the location. The patient had suffered cardiac arrest and died.